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Rich Tehrani
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Consumer Electronics

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Reviewed

June 12, 2014

By now my readers know I think the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is a solid compromise between tablet and laptop with a few trade offs you would have with any device. Starting with the bad first, the keyboard although very functional, actually feels like it is made from cardboard. There is flex when you type. Moreover, there is no key spacing.

One Thing Amazon Music Has, Others Don't

June 12, 2014


One of the biggest challenges users of electronic devices have to deal with is battery life… I returned from a conference this week where executives all around me had iPhones with large, bulky covers… Something I try to avoid using whenever possible. The challenge becomes getting in the gym early in the AM, then using your phone all day in conferences and then streaming music or news later in the day without losing power when you potentially need it most. This is the exact challenge I had yesterday – I had a flight delay and was in the airport all day due to tornado warnings apparently in DC.

Bottom line is, in the gym yesterday morning I opted to use Slacker’s ability to play downloaded music from the phone.

UneBobine, the most Versatile Smartphone Charger Around

May 27, 2014


In a sea of me-too accessories, the crowd-funded Une Bobine stands alone as a charging, syncing cable which also happens to be a stand and dock. The flexible neck of the unit is unlike any cable you have seen… It has virtually infinite positions in which you can bend it and twist it as you make your iPhone an even more intimate part of your life. The dock I tested was specifically designed to work with the iPhone 5 series including the 5s and 5c. Android devices are also supported.

Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 is an Ultrabook in Tablet's Clothing

May 21, 2014

To be blunt, Microsoft totally blew its lead in mobile, has tried to come at the tablet market twice with Surface variants and now has decided that instead of a tablet vendor they will become a laptop vendor. In other words, they couldn’t cut it in the tablet space so they decided to move up-market (or down depending on perspective) to go after the Ultrabook segment.

And suffice it to say the Surface Pro 3 has what it takes to take on most every competitor out there – which of course makes us wonder exactly what Dell, HP, Samsung, Acer, Asus, Lenovo and others are thinking right now. Well, we do know but this is a family blog after all and profanity has no place in it.

Truphone's Vastly Expanded International Roaming Plan

May 21, 2014

Truphone bills itself as the first global network operator and in an age where international roaming bills can run up quite quickly, having the company in your corner can make predictable international voice, data and text pricing a reality. As a reminder, in order to use the service, you need an unlocked device and a supplied SIM card. The last time I covered (see below) the company they were introducing their international sharing plan and since then they have added countries – there are now eight. The service allows you to not only travel to various countries using a pool of international minutes; you are also given local international numbers.

Everyone is Wrong about the Apple Beats Acquisition

May 9, 2014

If you read the media reports last night or yesterday, you heard that Apple is in talks to buy Beats Electronics because of the latter company’s streaming service. Frankly, I can’t understand this logic and perhaps I have the inability to understand the obvious but to me the reason has more to do with the brand and international expansion opportunities and most importantly the one thing everyone seems to think the acquisition is not about… Retail. Yes retail. Apple is a master at it.

Games: The Biggest Opportunity Carriers are Ignoring

April 25, 2014

Carriers are losing control over core network services such as voice and text which is in-turn making them dumb-pipe providers. While wireless is still a profitable business, the presence of companies like T-Mobile and Sprint in the US makes it more difficult than ever for carriers like AT&T and Verizon to keep their higher than industry-average margins. Just this week in fact, Sprint said it will unlock all its phones in less than 12 months. Add to that the bring-your-own-device mentality that T-Mobile has brought from Europe to the US and you can see why the 2-year contract; a mainstay in the US carrier market is slowly disappearing as customers migrate to options like AT&T’s Next plan.

Boingo, GigSky, XCom: Why my Europe Connectivity was Awesome

April 23, 2014

A while back, I had a chance to go to MWC (news and analysis) in Barcelona, Spain and like many of you who travel internationally, I was concerned about my cellular bill as I enjoy the relative generosity of multigigabyte 4G data plans in the US. In Europe however the costs can grow quickly. When headed overseas, Verizon charges $25 per 100 MB of data. As many US devices are locked, it becomes a hassle to bypass such restrictions with multiple devices and a bevy of SIM cards.

Intel Buys Way into Tablets While $99 may be Microsoft Sweet Spot

April 16, 2014

Intel recently reported earnings and the takeaway is the company is going to focus more on Android and ramp up subsidies to get into more OEM tablet designs in Asia and elsewhere.

Intel said that its Windows tablets are shipping in numbers which barely register in their quarterly numbers. Obviously this isn't a positive development. To put this in perspective, out of the five-million processors the chip behemoth shipped for tablets, as little as 10% were for Windows. It seems many analysts are convinced that for Windows devices to be successful, they need keyboards and to some extent this makes sense as tablets are typically described as consumption devices.

Can Apple's Haunted Empire Still Make Hits?

March 20, 2014

Isn’t it funny how much of the world has changed thanks to Steve Jobs? As I sit here at my computer using a mouse and GUI, which Jobs popularized while listening to MP3s, another industry he revitalized, I am fascinated by how much this man changed computing. Over a decade ago, my company TMC launched a show in the biometrics space called BiometriTech and another in the tablet space, Tablet PC Summit. Both shows failed because the companies in the industries failed to make products in volumes that translated into marketing budgets which allowed for a successful conference.

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